FOIA Advisor

Q&A: Can the DEA just say no?

Q&A (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Q.  Can the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) closed investigations be FOIAed? I submitted a DEA FOIA request seven days ago and I've yet to receive an acknowledgement that my request was received.

A.  Nearly all agency records are subject to FOIA, though not all may be released, of course. The fact that a DEA investigation is deemed "closed" merely affects whether DEA may rely upon Exemption 7(A) to withhold records.  If the investigation concerns a third party, the DEA is likely to withhold certain records under Exemptions 6 and 7(C) -- and based upon my experience reviewing DEA records, Exemptions 7(D), 7(E), and 7(F) -- or it might even refuse to confirm or deny the existence of records depending on the circumstances.   

If your request will take longer than ten days to process, the agency is required provide you with an individualized tracking number -- which is usually transmitted via an acknowledgment letter.  If you have a question about the status of your request, here is DEA's contact information:  Tel. (202) 307-7596 (Hotline); Fax: (202) 307-8556